Friday 5 April Clwyd Railway
Circle Michael Murphy 'Liverpool Overhead Railway' To
finish off the season, a highly recommended speaker known for his
light-hearted style of presentation. The talk will be followed by film
footage of the railway in its heyday.
Monday 8 April Wrexham
Railway Society 'The Railways Of Scotland' Les Nixon
Snow on the hills as 158 818
makes its way across Barmouth with train 2J02, 06:47 Machynlleth to
Pwllheli, 16 March. Picture by Kate
Forthcoming diesel day at Llangollen
[Update 22 March: This event
has been cancelled due to snowfalls which have made the local roads
In the Welsh Government reshuffle announced on 14 March, Carl
Sargeant, member for Alyn and Deeside is no longer Rail Minister;
the new Minister with Rail responsibilities is Edwina
Hart, member for Gower, who is now Minister for Economy, Science
Let us hope this does not lead to a bias towards South Wales in railway
Special trains for sports events have been in the news recently.
A 'rugby special' for the 'Six Nations' championship ran on on
Saturday 16 March, but following problems with the rolling stock at
Cardiff the previous day, it started from Chester rather than Holyhead,
having run empty from Cardiff early on Saturday morning. Above, the
Driving Van Trailer 82306
is leading, with 67 001
the rear, as the empty train apporaches Chester. Picture by Bob Greenhalgh.
Unfortunately the weekend rugby fans' trip to Edinburgh run by Compass
Tours, northbound on Friday 8 March and return on 11 March (see last issue) ran into problems on its return
journey, reportedly due to signalling problems in Scotland, and ran
over two hours late.
The innovative trip from Wrexham to Wembley on Sunday 24 March planned
by Arriva Trains Wales to use the 67-hauled 'premium express' stock is
reported to be fully booked; we understand that some of the passengers
may be attending a football match. Timings, incuding the empty stock
from and to Holyhead, can be found on the Network Rail database,
which can now be usefully
accessed using the Real Time
Trains website. Note that a choice of two paths has been created
for the evening return train, depending on whether the football runs to
Return to Carrog- report by George Jones
Saturday 16 March saw Llangollen Railway trains running through to
Carrog again, following a temporary closure of the Glyndyfrdwy - Carrog
section due to infrastructure problems. A diesel railcar service
operated on 16 March, and on Sunday 17 March pannier tank 6430 was in charge as shown in these
pictures of the 15:30 arrival (above) and run round (below).
6430 is entering the final stage of its ticket' [boiler safety
certificate] and will be withdrawn shortly for the ten-yearly overhaul.
Given that the loco was brought back from the brink of extinction when
the basic kit of parts was assembled and rebuilt at Llangollen back in
the late 1990s, it has performed well and visited many other railways
in the course of its renewed existence, notably as the motive power for
the recreated auto-coach train.
Those wishing to sample 'The Auto' would do well to book the dates of
the Spring gala, 19-21 April when 6430 is due to operate alongside the
visiting Great Western Society
steam railmotor No.93 and the newly-restored autotrailer No.92
which will be matched with it.
Later (above) the light-engine move back to the shed was captured at
An unusual view at Llanfairfechan on 13 March with flask train 6K41
14:58 Valley - Crewe passing. Locomotives 37 608 and 37 611. Picture by Peter Basterfield.
66 145 brings train 6M86
steel coils through Wrexham bound for Shotton steelworks at 17:25 on 15
On the Tyne Valley Moorlander - with Ken Robinson
I travelled on the Compass
Railtours 'Tyne Valley Moorlander' on Friday 15 March. We joined
the train at Crewe where we heard that a freight train had broken down
between Hereford and Shrewsbury resulting in our train being over 100
minutes. late! Eventually it got into Crewe, and the journey up to
Carlisle was without incident, albeit in rather dull and wet weather.
Above, the view from the train entering Hellifield South Junction
amongst the semaphores.
Above, the scene after arrival at Carlisle in the rain. This was a very
- see tail lamp already positioned on 47
237 which had been leading up
Then came the most interesting part for me personally across the roof
of England and into the Tyne Valley. Above, the interesting box at
Hexham - I also saw the remains of the former Border Counties line
junction (and the bridge abutments across the Tyne) just outside
Hexham. This railway led to the well known Riccarton Junction on the
47 786Roy Castle OBE on the other end of
the train, seen at Newcastle after arrival over 132 minutes late. We
had a short(er) break of around 45 minutes.
Above, the empty stock (after quick servicing) is seen passing
Newcastle East Junction, now behind 47237 once more, returning to the
station to take us back home. Great effort was put in by Compass to
enable us to keep to the schedule, and we departed Newcastle in a new
'slot' given us by Network Rail which resulted in us departing only (!)
70 minutes down at 17:30.
The sun was out by now and we passed Durham Cathedral in lovely
sunshine - after York and across the Pennines it was all in the dark.
We arrived at Wigan North Western 25 minutes late - the deficit being
only 18 minutes. by the time we reached Crewe, where we left the train.
A great trip where the tour company staff made a great effort to keep
things going - there was a rumour going around at one point that we
would never even reach Newcastle let alone keep to the original
Crabs at Rhyl but not on the beach - with John Hobbs
Above, 'Crab' 2-6-0 5MT 42753
runs through the Down Slow platform at Rhyl with Empty Stock Train 3Z32
which had passed through Prestatyn on the Down Slow so as not to
clash with the 9.20 Crewe to Holyhead with 'Royal Scot' 46152, which
overtook it outside Rhyl on the Down Fast, then crossed to the Down
Slow platform, this train 3Z32 being held until that train was clear;
all this on 31 March 1964. [The meaning of headcodes has changed since
those days: empty stock trains today have codes beginning with 5.]
'Crab' 2-6-0 5MT 42727 runs
into Rhyl with a Stephenson
excursion returning from from Llandudno Junction
to Birmingham (Snow Hill) on Sunday 27 March 1966. This train had
ex-Great Western Railway 0-6-2T 6697 from Snow Hill to Chester and
return, while this 'Crab' powered the train on the coast. 42727 was a
favourite railtour locomotive at this time and did the honours for this
excursion organised by W.A. 'Cam' Camwell excursion commemorating the
end of the 'Crabs' and the GWR 0-6-2Ts. In the event the 'Crabs' just
lasted into 1967, at Birkenhead but the 56XX/66XX Class 0-6-2Ts based
at Croes Newydd shed, Wrexham, finished in Summer 1966.
37 401 'Mary Queen of Scots' saved
Some interesting news on the Class 37/4 front is that 37 401Mary Queen of Scots, one of the
locos recently earmarked from scrapping by DRS, has instead been placed
on indefinite loan to the Bo'ness and Kinneil heritage line where it as
been recently stabled, a generous gesture by the company which will
mean that the BKR has two 37/4s available, as 37 403 is already based
there and in the process of being overhauled to main line standards.
37 401 has had a varied career, including a spell of service on North
Wales passenger trains from 1998 to 2000, and a number of later
appearances in 2008-9 on the aluminium train from Holyhead. A
good chance to dig some pictures out of our archives. The top
view is a classic scene captured by ian Bowland at Crewe Platform
12 in passenger days, and above, 37 401 on the Aluminium train near Ty
Croes in 2009, by Tim Rogers.
Goodbye to the Cardiff Bay bubble
Arriva Trains Wales have announced that they have given up the battle
to keep in service the refurbished single-unit railcar 121 032 which has been in use on
the short branch line from Cardiff Queen Street to Cardiff Bay. It has
been out of service for long periods recently awaiting replacement
parts; apparently its last run in service was on 8 February. It is seen
above in 2009 at Queen Street...
... and at Cardiff Bay (formerly Bute Street) terminus. We understand
that a Class 153 single-unit is now scheduled for the service, although
other types may appear.
If you have a spare four minutes, here is the video we took from the
front seat of the whole journey.
However, fans of the 'bubble cars' should not despair, as preserved
Class 122 vehicle 55005 (picture
Line will be
the guest star at the Llangollen Railway's forthcoming
gala weekend on 22 and 23 June. More about this event in later
Cross the line by the bridge
In a recent case before West Cheshire Magistrates, a man was ordered to
pay more than £500 after he was found guilty of the offence of
walking across the barrow crossing at Chester Station on July
last year. When challenged by British Transport Police officers, he
claimed he was unaware crossing was prohibited, and he had not seen
warning signs in and around the station.
He told police at the time of the offence that he accepted he had
crossed the railway line, but not to trespass, but because he was in a
hurry after a problem with his ticket, and told the trial he had asked
police officers if he could show them the 'stop, look and listen' signs
which he had understood to mean he was able to cross the line but he
said officers had refused.
Questioning the policeman who dealt with the incident, the man who
chose to represent himself , said: 'How does a member of the public
define trespassing? The signs say do not trespass on the railway, it
does not define what trespassing is.'
The result of this cleverness was a fine of £100 and plus
£400 costs and a £15 'victim surcharge.'